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Oil Pressure Problems in Refrigeration Systems

Number of visits: Date:2017-07-27
  There are several types of oil safety control devices on the market today. The two basic controls we are most familiar with are the ‘mechanical differential control’, and the ‘pressure sensing electronic control’. The mechanical control uses tubing that senses the suction pressure of the compressor and the outlet oil pressure of the pump. The electronic control has a special pressure-sensor which mounts in the outlet of the pump and connects only with an electrical cable. In the mechanical control, the total pressure from the pump, less the suction pressure is the actual net oil pressure.
  The control used most often on Copeland™ compressors is set to open the safety contact points after a short time delay whenever the net oil pressure falls below nine psig. The control requires manual reset once it has tripped. In the electronic control, the pressure sensor sends a signal to the control module whenever the pressure sensed falls below 7-9 psig. This signal causes the control module to open the safety contact points after a time delay. This control also requires manual reset once it has tripped. On both controls, the opening of the safety contacts breaks the electrical current in the system control circuit.
  When the service person gets a call that the refrigeration system is not operating, one thing checked is whether the oil safety control has tripped. If it has tripped, the fun begins, when the mechanic must figure out what caused the oil failure control to open. Sometimes, the actual cause of the trip is obvious; for example when there is no oil showing in the crankcase sight glass. Often, however, the cause is not noticed and is more difficult to figure out, calling for detective work to keep the refrigeration system operating.

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